MEPs say no EU country should face natural disasters alone

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee has confirmed the final agreement on a mechanism that it believes will save lives in the EU.

"No EU country will be left alone facing natural or man-made disasters. This agreement is instrumental in saving lives and reducing natural devastation in the EU", said Elisabetta Gardini MEP, Parliament’s negotiator of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism dossier. She warmly welcomed the agreement which the Institutions agreed on last December.

"One of the EPP Group’s biggest worries was that the deal would not be adopted in time for countries to be ready for the next fire season. We succeeded and this will save lives", she added.

Gardini stressed that the European Parliament improved an original proposal, making sure that the mechanism gets sufficient funding to be operational, while at the same time guaranteeing that Member States which do not wish to participate in the mechanism, will not be penalised. 

"With some €205 million extra for the 2019-2020 period, the EU is putting its money where its mouth is. It is important to note that additional funding will not cause any cuts in growth, youth, cohesion or employment programmes", said the MEP.

The renewed EU Civil Protection Mechanism, already backed by the Parliament in May, will help Member States deal with natural and man-made disasters ranging from health emergencies, floods, fires, as well as terrorist attacks and chemical and nuclear threats.

A rescue pool of capacities consisting of field hospitals, airplanes, helicopters and similar, will be designed to be in place for when the voluntary capacities of the Member States are not enough to respond to disasters in the Union.

The new mechanism, however, heavily reliant on cooperation and solidarity, will not replace the control and command pertinent to volunteer services at national and regional levels. 

The control and command will stay entirely in the hands of Member States. The new mechanism will become operational at the end of April.

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